Financially Independent, Retired Early(ish) at 57.

Operation Beautify!

Less than two weeks of work to go!

The cupcakes you see above were baked and decorated by one of my year 7 girls. She met me at the school gate yesterday with a big cake box and the most beautiful card. I don’t know if I wrote about the ‘Creativity Challenges’ that I was running while I was teaching from home during the two lockdowns this year.

Anyway, just to bring you up to speed, every couple of weeks or so we’d have a ‘catch-up class’ built into the English curriculum, so that kids who were struggling with remote learning could… well… catch up. I decided to use that time to test out who in my year 7 classes were actually human.

Creativity, whether it be making something tangible and useful out of raw materials or devising something artistic and beautiful is part of what makes us human. It satisfies something in the soul that nothing else can. So every couple of weeks we’d all share what we’d been making. I showed them the sausage dog quilt patches I was making for the quilt for Ryan25 – more on this in a future post – while they’d show off drawings, sculptures, things they’d been knitting, embroidering or designing. When someone asked if baking was creative and I said yes, Ariela’s eyes lit up. She started showing photos of the cakes she’d been baking in lockdown. They were Masterchef-worthy.

The card that she gave with the cupcakes mentioned the creativity challenges, saying that she found them very inspiring. This made me happy. I was hoping to reach at least a couple of kids and have them springboard off into expliring all the creative things that come their way. 🙂

There was a very happy staffroom at recess yesterday, all munching away on those cupcakes. (I had 2…)

Tomorrow I have my last year 7 classes ever. I’m finishing up ‘Back to the Future 2’ with 7M, while I’ll give 7D one last Drama class. The last piece of work I’ll ever mark was a grammar test – God, how I hate grammar. I certainly didn’t become an English teacher for the love of grammar. I finished marking the test while the class was working on something else, then leaped up, waved my hands in the air, declaring, “This is the LAST EVER grammar test I’ll ever have to mark! Whoopee!” The class applauded.

Friday will be my last ever Drama class.

I’ve had my last ever staff meeting – how sweet is that? Next week is full of meetings planning next year’s classes. I have to go to them, even though I clearly don’t give a tinker’s cuss what they decide. I’m hand-sewing binding on a couple of quilts I’m giving for Christmas presents, which takes hours per quilt, so I’ll probably just sit there with that and listen to all of the conversations.

I also have to attend the final meeting with the head of English, as we talk about my career achievements for this year and what I plan to aim to achieve next year. I’m HAPPY to talk about all that I plan to achieve next year with him! Sadly, pedagogy, literacy, rubrics and other exciting teacherly topics will be nowhere on that list.

Over the next 2 years Operation Beautify will be happening at my place. While I’m waiting for the world to become less riddled with COVID so I can go to Antarctica, I’m planning on doing work around the house and garden to make the place look prettier.

There’ll be spots of colour in the garden; the new outdoor room which looks so new and stark at the moment will be transformed and softened to become a far more welcoming space and the interior of the house will have artwork (and a new ensuite) to be even more of a haven for the boys, dogs and I.

Not that the dogs care too much about artwork…

Every now and then I’m hoping to trot off to a school to do some CRT work or exam invigilation to help pay for Antarctica and break up the weeks, but I fully expect to be spending most of my time at home for 2021, just catching up on rest, detoxing from the pace of working life and puddling around doing all the little things that I enjoy doing.

Operation Beautify will happen step by step.

I think it’ll be very satisfying.


  1. Budget Life List

    That does sound delightful. I have been telling people I plan on retiring early at 51. That is 16 years from now…….A girls gotta have dreams! 😉

  2. Budget Life List

    REALly??!!! 😳

    Oookkkkaaaayyyyy, what should I be shooting for? Keep in mind: I’m 35, just starting my FIRE journey (but with no debt! Outside of a mortgage that is…), and work as a gov employee subject to furlough half the year……

    What is the magic number you think I should be shooting for?

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